Why did I come to FORM at Arcosanti? Was I looking for a good time? Was I looking for something new and different? Or maybe even enlightening? I'm still not sure. But there’s something about music, the desert, and seclusion that calls the soul and lures weary eyes and twisted minds. Here's the best and worst of what I experienced this weekend.
BEST: Skrillex Pool Party
The pool was regulated at a strict 100-person capacity by a hard-working soul who thought he was going to be on bar-backing duty on Saturday. Skrillex was supposed to come on at 1 p.m., so the the line by the door to get in was busy, and energy levels were high. Although, after a couple of hours passed many people weren't sure if the anticipated party was happening, so a lot of people made their way to different areas of the festival grounds. By the time Skrillex showed-up at 4 p.m., the crowd was somewhat surprised but none the less excited. The set itself was decent, although Skrill-boy was a little worn out from playing until 6 a.m. the night before.
BEST: Son Lux Performance
I had never heard of this band before FORM, and their live sound quality was like a unicorn puking crystals. They have an introspective motif that's told through a daydreamy melody that's counterparted by powerful ballads.
BEST: Complimentary Cocktails By The Pool
While the beer and cocktail trucks didn't start pouring until 5 p.m. each day, there was a mini bar serving up two different mixed-drink options for free. Well, not completely free; they said they only accepted smiles.
BEST: Arts and Crafts Area
There was a quiet little workshop that offered different arts and crafts throughout the festival. When I stopped by, it was face painting.
BEST: Guy Buried In The Ground
“Guy” is actually an artist, and he is the centerpiece of this art experiment called “What Does A Tree Feel Like.” If you were wondering, he said it “feels pretty cool,” and he also pisses himself while in the ground because “that's what trees do.”
BEST: Capacity Limits
From the pool to the festival itself, this is the first festival I've ever been to where the line for food, drink, or bathroom wasn't torture, and I didn't constantly bump into people. The festival crowd was good, and the limited size gave you a lot of room to breathe, nap, dance, and practice acrobatics.
BEST: Free Water
I'm not sure if these “Just Waters” were free for everyone, but they were laying around in troves and I was drinking them.
BEST: Hygiene Concerns
From the “shower before you enter” sign at the pool, to showers brought to you by Home Depot, and towels and personal-hygiene products for sale — for a hippie commune in the desert, I was impressed.
Location, location, location. Arcosanti’s Planet of the Apes, maze-like infrastructure made me feel like I was discovering ancient alien ruins, and it really added to the level of seclusion and mystique of the festival.
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BEST: Drink Prices
$3 for a generously poured mixed drink. Craft beer pints were only $5, and credit cards were accepted everywhere at the festival.
WORST: $10 Towels
You read this and probably think, who would spend that on a towel? Well, I did. It's situations like this that make you realize what you value in life — like showers.
This wasn't entirely the festival’s fault — so I'm told by the minivan-driving “shuttle driver” who’s “been friends with Hundred Waters for like, a really long time.” She told me that the owners of the land who were allowing FORM Arcosanti to use it for camping and parking decided on Saturday morning that they were going to play take-backsies and not let them use it, causing festival volunteers and organizers to have to change plans on some people and move some cars.
There’s that phrase, “Hawaiian Time.” If you haven't heard it before, it’s basically what people in Hawaii (or tourists, not sure) say in reference to Hawaiians being habitually late to everything. Arcosanti suffers from this too; we’ll call it “Arcosanti Time.” I'll use it in a sentence: “Skrillex was on that Arcosanti time. He was scheduled to perform at 1 p.m. and showed up at 4 p.m.”
BEST AND WORST: The Wind
The wind was a relief during the day to the harsh desert sun, but at times got to be a little much, and started flipping tents over and getting dirt in people’s eyes.
This article was updated at 12:45 p.m. on 5/16/2016.